Take a dash of pop, add a little jazz, and stir in some Latin beats and you have the music style of Joy Mover.
Originally from Boston, Mover has been associated with the music industry for years. She has now released her self-titled debut album which combines six original compositions with five covers. A fine group of musicians are in support including trumpet/sax/flute player Ira Sullivan, guitarist John Paul, keyboardist Mike Levine, saxophonist Bob Mover, and an assortment of session players.
Her sound can best be described as light jazz as her vocals float above the rhythms. It reminds me of Sergio Mendes’ early work with Brasil 66. Her voice has a sultry quality, which is perfect for the style.
There are two distinct halves to the album. The original songs have a smoother and more polished sound while the covers have a very intimate feel to them. The original compositions are tracks one through five and number seven. She probably should have moved “Home Sweet Home” into the number six position and emphasized the two different types of style and presentation.
Mover may be a vocalist but she has the ability to write interesting and at times complex music. Her original material has a vocal style that ties the various songs together. Whether it is the gentle nature of “If I Could Tell You,” the Latin percussion of “Maria’s Song,” the piano lines of “Midnight Oil,” or the up-tempo lightness of “Only the Wind,” her vocals move smoothly over the sound and slick production, which provides cohesiveness.
The cover songs make you think of a small, smoky lounge late at night as the music has a more subtle appeal. I could do without the rap intro to “Till There Was You” but the heart of the song is a gentle presentation with the dual saxophones of Sullivan and her brother who has played with the likes of Charles Mingus and Chet Baker. “Fever” is right out of the Peggy Lee songbook with a sultry vocal by Mover. “Dream a Little Dream of Me” is the simplest song as she slows the tempo down, which enables her to caress the lyrics.
The singer’s take on the Antonio Carlos Jobim classic “Corcovado” is the track that combines the best of the several styles that inhabit the album. The bass and percussion foundation, with Sullivan’s flute play floating in and out, provide the perfect backdrop for her south of the border type of jazz vocals.
Joy Mover has released a fine debut album. Her ability to fuse several styles serves her well and her ability to create lyrics and music look ahead to a bright future. It all adds up to a fine listen for anyone who wants to let their mind wander for a spell.